How To Get Shit Done

If I had one British pound for every time I said I would do something…and then didn’t do it, well let’s just say I’d be absolutely bloody minted. I am the self-confessed QUEEN of Putting Things Off. Joining the gym, writing an article, cleaning my flat – when it comes to the trivial, you can expect me to do the thing I’ve said I’ll do approximately two weeks later than scheduled.

image credit: emma allegretti
image credit: emma allegretti

Last month was pretty much a write off for any useful tasks, as I became accustomed to using the ‘well, it’s January’ excuse for things like making myself a proper dinner – instead whacking on a ready meal and calling it a day. Now it’s February, I feel like I’ve run out of excuses for putting things off, so I’ve made a few tweaks to my routine and have actually managed to become a somewhat efficient person. Here are my top tips:

Get yourself a planner (and actually use it)

At the start of the academic year (I still go by the September – September calendar despite leaving school approximately 5 years ago), I bought myself a shiny new planner, vowing to make this the year I was officially organised. Naturally, I shoved it to the depths of my handbag, never to be seen again. Recently, I’ve pulled it out from the abyss and have begun using it to plan my gym classes, my after-work events and my to-do list. Something about writing a task down seems to make it stick in my head much better than if I just will myself to do it and I feel a strange sort of guilt when I see my scribbled notes and haven’t checked them off. PSA: Paperchase do some bangin’ ones that are quite often in the sale.

Do ‘it’ as soon as you get home

A couple of years ago, I was bought ‘The Twentysomething Guide to Getting It Together’ by my mother for Christmas. Make of that what you will. In it, Mary Traina makes the absolutely GOLDEN realisation that if you do a snore-worthy task before your feet have had a chance to realise you’re home, you’re way more likely to get it done. If you sit down before doing a task like cleaning the house, the odds of you getting off your snuggly sofa again are as small as your chance of winning the lottery. She suggests doing the thing you need to do as soon as you get home, immediately after chucking your bag on the floor. Do not sit on the toilet scrolling through Instagram, do not pass go. This one tip has pretty much changed my life.

Choose one important thing and focus your efforts on it

When it comes to more pressing tasks than folding your laundry, juggling more than one change to your routine can be daunting. I foolishly tried to quit smoking, join the gym and start meal prepping all at once, and when I inevitably failed, multi-tasking left me feeling like a massive loser. I felt like because I’d tried and failed, I couldn’t achieve any of those things. Naturally it was quite depressing and I ended up stress-eating, lying on the sofa more and keeping Amber Leaf in business. I’ve begun to take one thing at a time, and focusing on one important change each week/day depending on the size of the task. I’ll have a week of going to the gym loads, then I’ll give myself a break the next week and instead try and focus on cooking some healthy, hearty meals on an evening that I can take to work the next day. Balance, people.

Don’t worry about what other people are doing

One MASSIVE problem for millennials is comparison. Social media means we are way more preoccupied with the lives of people we’ve never met than our parents’ generation ever were. While that can be an incredible thing in terms of making friends, contacts and gleaning inspiration, it can also lead to comparison fatigue. As mentioned in the above point, trying to take on too much at once leaves you feeling about as productive as a sea monkey. And that is not very. If you think that girl on twitter’s side hustle is amazing and you want to have a go, amazing. Gain inspiration where you can, but don’t be afraid to take your time planning your project. World domination doesn’t happen overnight.

Do The Thing You Tell People You’re Going To Do

I saw this quote somewhere when I was mindlessly scrolling through my phone and it really struck a chord with me. Normally, I’m not one for motivational quotes, as they usually cause a knee-jerk gag reflex to occur, but this one I can get on board with. SO many times I find myself proclaiming “I’m going to go on a run tomorrow!” or “Oh yeah, I’m going to go to that art exhibition next week too” when I’m speaking to my friends, and in the space of time it takes for the words come out of my mouth, I’ve already cancelled those plans and packed ‘em away for a rainy day. I started to wonder what would happen if I actually followed through on these plans, and the effect so far has been pretty marvellous. I am now a semi-regular gym goer. I quite often make pasta bakes and veggie curries for my pals when they come round. I sometimes even venture to a coffee shop alone. It’s all very exciting.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful. If you have any yourself, PLEASE send me them on twitter. I’m all ears.


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